Cricket's image 'tarnished'
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (AFP)
New Delhi - The spot-fixing scandal which has marred Pakistan's tour of England has tarnished cricket's image and tough decisions need to be made if necessary, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said in an interview.
"Match-fixing or spot-fixing brings disrepute to the game," Dhoni told NDTV news channel, reacting to the controversy that caused the International Cricket Council (ICC) to provisionally suspend three Pakistan players following an investigation into a newspaper report they had manipulated incidents in the fourth Test.
"It does not restrict only to the people who are doing it or the side they belong to. I think people start associating it with the whole fraternity which means all the cricketers," Dhoni said in the interview to be aired later on Monday.
Pakistan test captain Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif were suspended last week following the allegations in Britain's News of the World newspaper.
Asked if he was advocating strong punishment if any players are found guilty, Dhoni said: "Definitely, harsh decisions need to be taken."
The News of the World said on Sunday that a fourth unidentified Pakistan player was being investigated and published quotes from batsman Yasir Hameed saying team-mates were fixing matches.
Hameed issued a statement saying he had been duped into making the allegations by a reporter masquerading as an agent.
"At times what happens, if there is a game which is a very low scoring game, people often say it may be a fixed game," Dhoni added.
"When you work so hard on a field, that's one thing you don't really want. You don't want somebody to comment that the match was fixed...
"You work so hard for it. Every day you go to the gym or to a field, the net sessions, the travelling, the amount of pressure that you have to go through and after that you achieve something that is remarkable and people come up with...those kinds of words. It can be really disheartening."